City Council cites ‘irreconcilable differences’ with him in how city should be run
■ By Melissa Diaz Hernandez / Editor
Hemet City Manager Alex Meyerhoff submitted his resignation Aug. 8, effective immediately. Meyerhoff’s resignation is the latest chapter in a long book of the city’s inability to retain its managers and executive staff.
Mayor Pro Tem Michael Perciful, who was absent from the council meeting on a planned trip to San Francisco, was in attendance during the closed session meeting via video conference.
“The council received a resignation letter from City Manager Alex Meyerhoff. It probably won’t come as any surprise that the city manager and council have been going through the prolonged city manager evaluation process,” reported contract City Attorney Eric Vail, following the closed session meeting. “As a result of that process, the parties recognize that it is time for an amicable separation that’s mutually desirable. Over time they have developed significant differences of opinion concerning the management and direction of the city. These differences have become irreconcilable.”
Vail continued, “Council has accepted Meyerhoff’s resignation. That resignation will be effective immediately with his last day of work on Sept. 7. Alex will be on administrative leave from this point forward. He will be available to council members, department heads and any acting or interim city manager that the council has, and he will prepare a transition letter. The city has also agreed to a mutual separation agreement and general release of claims with Alex that recognizes that he will be gone for 30 days. He will receive any accrued personal time off (PTO), or admin leave, as… would be required under law, and council will provide duration payment that is equivalent to two-months’ salary on or after Sept. 7.”
Police Chief Dave Brown will again serve as acting city manager while the city looks for an interim city manager.
Once the separation agreement has been signed, it will be available in a public document, as will Alex’s resignation, according to Vail. Council had no comments or questions after the resignation was reported out of the closed session meeting.
Councilwoman Karlee Meyer posted a comment on Facebook Wednesday morning regarding Meyerhoff’s resignation.
“I appreciate Meyerhoff’s 20 months of service and wish him well in his endeavors. While Meyerhoff was the choice in 2015, many things have changed in the city of Hemet,” said Meyer. “We have passed an aggressive measure to fight crime; we are at a crossroads for growth and the city must take the lead in becoming efficient with its resources and make strides in the area of customer service.
“There are processes that can be streamlined and this all takes strong leadership,” continued Meyer. “The citizens have been clear on their expectations, and the City Council is working together like never before to make these changes happen. We will move forward and strive to bring results to the citizens of Hemet.”
Meyer closed her post with, “I encourage everyone to embrace change and look at it as an opportunity to continue to make improvements.”
Meyerhoff was hired Dec. 22, 2015 during a special city council meeting only days before the city of Hemet owed a letter to State Auditor Elaine Howle outlining the city’s completed tasks as a result of the auditor’s original assessment earlier that year. Then-Councilwoman Shellie Milne was the only council member absent at the December meeting approving Meyerhoff’s hire. The two remaining council members from that special meeting Dec. 22 are Mayor Linda Krupa and Councilwoman Bonnie Wright.
Meyerhoff received a base salary of $200,000 per year, according to his contract from the December meeting, and signed a five-year contract with a Jan. 6, 2016 start date. Prior to Meyerhoff’s hire, Wally Hill served as city manager, but was fired by the Hemet City Council in March 2015. Hemet Police Chief Dave Brown also served as acting city manager after Hill’s termination until the city hired Interim City Manager Gary Thornhill.
Included in Meyerhoff’s contract is language stating that he cannot be fired “within One Hundred Twenty (120) days of the seating of a new City Councilmember, whether by election or appointment.”
Councilman Russ Brown took the oath of office on Feb. 7, 2017 after the abrupt resignation of Councilman K. Paul Raver in December 2016.